Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Lexical Ergativity Is More Delicate Grammatical Ergativity

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 338n):
Some linguists have in fact thought that English is only lexically ergative. But this is not a tenable position once we realise that lexis and grammar are not separate modules or components, but merely zones within a continuum: ‘lexical ergativity’ in English is an extension in delicacy of ‘grammatical ergativity’ within the experiential clause grammar; and the explanation for the evolution of ergative patterning is grammatical in the first instance rather than lexical.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Ergativity & Delicacy

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 338):
But ergativity is not restricted to the lexical zone of lexicogrammar. Rather it is also a grammatical phenomenon, and the explanation can be stated in grammatical, rather than lexical, terms since it is the grammar that engenders the lexical patterns

Monday, 29 October 2018

The Ergative & Transitive Models

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 337):
The ergative model is now fully systemic in English; that is, it is not restricted to certain registers, but together with the transitive model, it makes up the general system of transitivity, and it has been gaining ground over the last half a millennium. The two models complement one another, which is why they are variably foregrounded across registers: they embody different generalisations about the flux of experience, resonating with different situation types.

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Registers In Which The Ergative Model Is Foregrounded

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 337):
These registers include those that are collectively known as Scientific English — registers that evolved over the last 500 years or so; but they also include those that are collectively known as casual conversation — the frontier of change in English.

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Agent: External Cause

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 336):
The difference between ‘doing’ and ‘happening’ derives from a different principle from the transitive one of extension–and­–impact: ‘happening’ means that the actualisation of the process is represented as being self–engendered, whereas 'doing' means that the actualisation of the process is represented as being caused by a participant that is external to the combination of Process + Medium [i.e. Nucleus]. This external cause is the Agent.

Friday, 26 October 2018

Medium (cf. Affected, Patient)

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 336, 336n):
… the medium through which the process is actualised.*

* Halliday (1968: 185/2005: 117) originally suggested the term ‘affected’ for what is now called ‘medium’, although Fawcett and other linguists working with and developing descriptions within the ‘Cardiff Grammar continue to use the term ‘affected’ in their accounts. Within other linguistic frameworks, something like the role of Medium has been characterized by means of other labels. For example, in Starosta’s (1988: 128) Lexicase theory, ‘“Patient” corresponds to Halliday’s medium’.

Thursday, 25 October 2018

The Transitive Model

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 334):
… the transitive model is based on the configuration of Actor + Process. The Actor is construed as bringing about the unfolding of the Process through time; and this unfolding is either confined in its outcome to the Actor or extended to another participant, the Goal. The Goal is construed as being impacted by the Actor’s performance of the Process.

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

The Complementarity Of The Transitive And Ergative Models Of Transitivity

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 333-4):
These models are summarised in Table 5-37. We have constructed the table to suggest that (i) generalisation across process types and (ii) transitivity model are independently variable. In English and in many other languages, it is the transitive model that differentiates the different process types and it is the ergative model that generalises across these different process types. But the alignments could be different.

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Ergativity [Theoretical Location]

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 333n):
Note that ‘transitivity’ is the name for the whole system, including both the ‘transitive’ model and the ‘ergative’ one. ‘Ergativity’ is thus not the name of a system, but a property of the system of transitivity: within this system of transitivity, we can recognise the ‘transitive model’ and the ‘ergative model’.

Monday, 22 October 2018

Two Complementary Perspectives On Transitivity: The Transitive And Ergative Models

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 333):
It is true that, from one point of view, all these types of process are different. Material, behavioural, mental, verbal, relational and existential processes each have a grammar of their own. At the same time, looked at from another point of view they are all alike. At another level of interpretation, they all have the same grammar: there is just one generalised representational structure common to every English clause. 
These two perspectives complement one another, giving us a balance in the account of transitivity between similarity and difference among the process types. The two perspectives constitute two different modes of modelling transitivity. We shall call these the transitive model and the ergative model of transitivity.

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Difficulties In Identifying Circumstantial Elements: Abstract And Metaphorical Expressions Of Circumstance

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 332):
In the modern elaborated registers of adult speech and (especially) writing, the circumstantial elements have evolved very far from their concrete origins – especially the spatial ones. It is beyond our scope here to treat these developments systematically; here are a few examples, with suggested interpretations:
they closed down with the loss of 100 jobs [Accompaniment: addition]
the directive was now with the Council of Ministers [Accompaniment: comitation]
we have now been introduced to a new topic [Location: place]
we learn from this experiment [Manner: means]
the committee decided against their use [Cause: behalf ‘not + in favour of’]
the problem lies in our own attitudes [Location: place]
the group will work through all these materials [Extent: distance]
the venture would have failed without the bank’s support [Contingency: default]
my colleague works for the transport section [Cause: behalf]
these products are made to a very high standard [Manner: quality]
we have been asked to assist in a further project [Matter]
consult the chart for the full operational details [Cause: purpose]

Saturday, 20 October 2018

Three Planes Of Reality: Experiential Time vs Interpersonal Time vs Textual Time

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 332):
Experiential time is time as a feature of a process: its location, its duration or its repetition rate in some real or imaginary history. Interpersonal time is time enacted between speaker and listener: temporality relative to the speaker–now, or usuality as a band of arguable space between positive and negative poles. Textual time is time relative to the current state of the discourse: ‘then’ in the text’s construction of external reality, or in the internal ordering of the text itself.

Friday, 19 October 2018

Difficulties In Identifying Circumstantial Elements: Prepositional Phrases As Modal & Conjunctive Adjuncts [Diagnostic: Textual Potential]

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 331-2):
Modal and Conjunctive Adjuncts are outside the transitivity system, hence while typically thematic, they are not topical Theme and therefore cannot be given special thematic prominence; nor will they carry the only focus of information in the clause. … But many items can occur both as circumstance and in one of the other functions.

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Difficulties In Identifying Circumstantial Elements: Prepositional Phrase As Nominal Group Qualifier

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 331):
Prepositional phrases also function in the structure of nominal groups, following the noun, like in the wall in the hole in the wall. In some varieties of English, especially the more elaborated registers of adult writing, this is the predominant function of prepositional phrases …
In general it is clear whether any given prepositional phrase is circumstance in the clause or Qualifier in the nominal group; where it is uncertain, there will often be some thematic variation that can be used to question the text.

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Difficulties In Identifying Circumstantial Elements: Preposition Attached To Verb

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 330):
This also involves prepositional phrases functioning as participants; but here there is no alternation between prepositional phrase and nominal group. Instead, the preposition is closely bonded with a verb, so that it is functioning as part of the Process, as with turn into; similarly look at the sky consists of Process look at + Phenomenon the sky. There is no simple diagnostic criterion for deciding every instance; but a useful pointer is provided by the thematic structure, which gives an indication of how the clause is organised as a representation of the process.

Blogger Comment:

To be clear, it is not the prepositional phrase that functions as participant, but the nominal group that serves as the Range of the prepositional phrase.

the sky
Process: mental: perception
verbal group
prepositional phrase

minor Process

nominal group

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Difficulties In Identifying Circumstantial Elements: Prepositional Phrases As Participants [Diagnostic]

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 330):
Wherever there is systematic alternation between a prepositional phrase and a nominal group, the element in question is interpreted as a participant.

Monday, 15 October 2018

Participants Realised By Prepositional Phrases: Implications

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 329):
At the same time, there are many instances where a nominal group seems to have more or less the same function whether it is brought into the clause directly, or indirectly via a prepositional phrase: for example, John in sent John a message/sent a message to John. We have interpreted these as participant functions, rather than as circumstantial elements… . But they also suggest that the line between participants and circumstances is not a very clear one, and that the preposition does function like some highly generalised kind of process, by reference to which the nominal group that is attached to it establishes a participant status.

Sunday, 14 October 2018

The Similarity Between Verb And Preposition: Preposition As Minor Process/Predicator

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 329):
We saw also that in circumstantial and possessive relational processes there are often close parallels between be + preposition and a verb, e.g.
the delay was because of a strike ~ was caused by a strike
a carpet was over the floor ~ covered the floor
the bridge is across the river ~ crosses/spans the river
a path is along(side) the wood ~ skirts the wood
a halo is around the moon ~ surrounds the moon
This similarity between verb and preposition can also be seen in cases where there is a close relationship between a prepositional phrase and a non-finite dependent clause:
he cleaned the floor with a mop ~ using a mop
grass grows after the rain ~ following the rain
In this way certain prepositions are themselves derived from non-finite verbs; e.g. concerning, according to, given, excepting. These considerations suggest that the nominal group stands to the preposition in some kind of transitivity relation, as well as in a relationship like that of Complement to Predicator in mood structure.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Prepositional Phrase: Minor Process & Participant

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 329):
Most circumstances are realised by prepositional phrases. A prepositional phrase can be interpreted as a shrunken clause, in which the preposition serves as a ‘minor process’, interpreted as a kind of mini-verb, and the nominal group as a participant in this minor process. … The preposition, it was suggested, acts as a kind of intermediary whereby a nominal element can be introduced as an ‘indirect’ participant in the main process.

Friday, 12 October 2018

Prepositional Phrases: Issues

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 328-9):
Rounding off our discussion of circumstances, let us now review their status in the grammar, focusing on the prepositional phrases in the grammar since most circumstances are realised by prepositional phrases. Issues arise because while prepositional phrases serve as circumstances by default, they can also serve as participants in the clause, and even as elements of groups (nominal or adverbial). Issues also arrive because while prepositions serve in prepositional phrases by default, they can also come to serve as extensions of verbs, so-called phrasal verbs (and we can also note conjunctive prepositions, prepositions used as structural conjunctions in bound clauses, as in who will authorise payment on ascertaining that the item was really received.

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Viewpoint: Realisation

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 328):
This type is expressed by [prepositional phrases introduced by] the simple preposition to or by complex prepositions such as in the view/opinion of, from the standpoint of … This type of Angle occurs in ‘relational’ clauses that are agnate with Senser in ‘mental’ clauses: that’s very interesting to me (cf. that interests me).

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Source: Realisation

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 328):
It is expressed by [prepositional phrases introduced by] complex prepositions such as according to, in the words of.  (Note that according to can also mark a circumstance of Manner …).

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Angle: Source (Sayer) Vs Viewpoint (Senser)

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 328):
Angle is related either to
(i) the Sayer of a ‘verbal’ clause, with the sense of ‘as … says’ or
(ii) to the Senser of a ‘mental’ clause, with the sense of ‘as … thinks’.
We can call type (i) ‘source’ since it is used to represent the source information …
We can call type (ii) ‘viewpoint’ since it is used to represent the information given by the clause from somebody’s viewpoint …

Monday, 8 October 2018

Matter: Theme & New

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 328):
One way of giving prominence to a Theme is to construe it as if it was a circumstance of Matter; for example, as for the ghost, it hasn’t been seen since.  By being first introduced circumstantially, the ghost becomes a focused Theme.

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Matter: Mathematical Expressions

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 328):
In mathematical expressions, there is a special form of Matter, typically with ‘relational’ clauses: for all x such that x > 5 … .

Saturday, 6 October 2018

Matter: Definition, Realisation & WH– Probe

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 327-8):
Matter is related to verbal processes; it is the circumstantial equivalent of the Verbiage, ‘that which is described, referred to, narrated, etc’.  The interrogative is what about?.  Matter is expressed by [prepositional phrases introduced by] prepositions such as about, concerning, with reference to and sometimes simply of … It is frequent with both ‘verbal’ clauses and ‘mental’ ones (especially of the ‘cognitive’ subtype).

Friday, 5 October 2018

Circumstances Of Projection: Agnation

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 327):
Although circumstances of expansion relate to ‘relational’ clauses, circumstances of projection relate to projecting ‘mental’ and ‘verbal’ clauses — either to the Senser or Sayer of that clause (Angle) or to the [Phenomenon or] Verbiage (Matter).

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Rôle Type & ‘Material’ Attribute Type [Agnation]

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 327):
There is a related pattern in the clause which could be regarded as a circumstance of Rôle, except that it does not involve a prepositional phrase. This is the structure whereby an Attribute is added to a material process, either (i) as depictive, corresponding to the guise, or (ii) as resultative, corresponding to the product; e.g. (i) he came back rich, (ii) bend that rod straight. Typically such an Attribute appears as an adjective; the pattern can occur with a general noun (he came back a rich man/a millionaire), but the related nominal attribute is usually construed circumstantially, with as: he came back as a millionaire, it’s frozen into a solid mass (cf. it’s frozen solid).

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Phrasal Verb Vs Prepositional Phrase [Diagnostics]

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 326-7):
… in some instances, such as act as, turn into, the preposition as, into was so closely bonded with the verb that it should be analysed as part of the Process. … The boundary is indeterminate; but [the phrasal verb] analysis is suggested where the verb could not easily occur without the prepositional phrase, or is separated from the preposition thematically.

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Product: Definition & WH– Probe

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 326):
Product corresponds to the interrogative what into? with the meaning of ‘become’, similarly as attribute or identity; e.g. aren’t you growing into a big girl? (‘becoming a big girl’), he moulded the army into a disciplined fighting force.

Monday, 1 October 2018

Guise & Temporality

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 326):
Thematic circumstances of Rôle may indicate a period of time in a person’s life; for example … as a young boy … . This is distantly agnate with a temporal clause with a temporally enhancing relational clause — when he was a young boy